Category Archives: Animal

3’s A Crowd – original pastel dog drawing commission

original pastel drawing of two jack russells and a beagle

3’s A Crowd

This was a tough commission.  The original drawing is 20 x 16″ on pastelmat.

When originally asked to do the commission I was presented with a photograph of the three dogs in this pose.  It’s taken by a professional pet photographer.  My initial reaction was to say that the photo was great and could not be improved upon with art.  However, the customer insisted that he wanted something bigger and completed in art.  Reluctantly I agreed, as most pet artists know a great photo can lead to a great piece because when the photography is so clear it makes my job a lot easier.

Decisions – I thought the best course of action was to focus on the dog’s faces and make everything else loose and impressionistic.  I figured that if I drew the bench and the trees and grass in great detail then it would detract away from the dogs themselves.

Here are my materials for the commission – Unison soft pastels (Emma Colbert set) stabilo carbothello pastel pencils, conte soft and hard pastels all on pastelmat.

 Here is a slideshow showing progress shots taken as I went along…

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The piece took just over 2 weeks to complete….

Christmas Drawings

During the last few weeks I have been working on commissions, attending art fairs and working on my new mini 8 x 8″ pencils studies from life.

Here is a collection of my recent work…..

graphite pencil drawing of a kitten

Lowra

This is Lowra, she has been drawn in graphite pencil, various grades from 9B to 6H.  Lots of blending to give her the softness.  You can click on the image or click here to find out more information about Lowra.


These small studies formed the beginnings of a new series ‘ Daily Sketches’.  They are all sized 8 x 8″ and come framed for £55.  They are completed in graphite pencil on Arches Watercolour paper.  They have proved popular with two of them selling fairly quickly.  By doing these small detailed sketches each morning it gives me an opportunity to keep my artist’s eye finely tuned before moving on to my larger commissioned piece for the rest of the day.  You can discover more about my daily sketches by visiting the page on my website here


Finally here is a collection of my commissions completed for Christmas…

The New Year has brought a wave of commissions, mostly for cricket and some pet portraits….Exciting times

Wicket keeper original charcoal commission

Wicket keeper original charcoal drawing

This week I am working on a commission, it is a surprise wedding anniversary present for the subjects husband (he doesn’t really use social media so we are ok for updates.)

This is drawn with Nitram charcoal on Canson Mi Teintes paper. The size is 16 x 12 inches.  Here are some progress drawings…..

 I have also produced some short videos to show actual drawing at speed..

The piece is not yet complete, its on hold whilst I await some more reference photographs.


Portrait Drawing

Back to portrait drawing from life on Friday morning, although this time there was limited time so I had to take photos and draw it in my studio.  I have been dying to do this one as it is a real challenge.  Steve has glasses and a beard, a double challenge for a portrait artist..

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I have begun work on this one which should be complete in the week.


New Pastel Cat Drawing

Itching to get back into colour I have selected this drawing of a cat that I’ve kept hold of for a while.  I’ve changed the cat from its traditional tortoiseshell to a play with colours.  I wanted to contrast the emerald eyes with sapphire ears.  Here’s a clip video of the progress….

The completed piece has proved to be very popular.  It is available in my website shop as well as a limited number of fine art prints…

Click here to go to its page or on the image below..

an original pastel drawing of a tortoiseshell cat completed in conte pastels on pastelmat with green emerald eyes

Emerald

That Greyhound Look – notes from the studio of a portrait artist

I finally finished my first oil portrait.  It took a lot of time and frustration.  There was countless times that I felt like launching the canvas across the studio, but I persevered and finally finished it….

oil painting of a dalmatian

That Dalmatian Look #1

There’s about a million things wrong with it.  Its far too clumpy and there’s too many textured brush strokes in the face, I wanted it to be very smooth and precise in the face area and quite loose everywhere else.  However, it’s a good likeness and I really love the background which I now understand really well.

The current trend seems to be painting outside, my art magazines and instagram feed is full of it.  So I decided to take my easel outside – not far, just into my garden.  Intending to paint in one sitting I was interrupted and had to carry on the next day, fortunately the weather was fine for both days.  Below are some snaps of the progress….

It’s far too dark really and by the time I had finished it I was completely bored with it.  It’s not the oil paints that are the problem.  If I wanted to draw or paint trees and plants I would have done it before with my pastels.  It’s just doesn’t inspire me I suppose.  I tend to love all the subject matters that I draw and get excited about the prospect of transforming it into a piece of art.  If I didn’t have this I would have given up a long time ago.  The next step obviously will be to do an oil painted portrait.  I’ve been dying to do it for a while…..watch this space.


My next drawing is another greyhound, this time however it’s a long haired greyhound.  The new bits are that I am completing it on pastelmat which is a first for me.  It was recommended and I can see why, it’s a great surface as it holds the pastel really well and is thicker and probably longer lasting.  The negatives are that the pastel does not blend well at all, there is more blending as you layer on the pastel but literally none at the beginning.  The other negative is that you can’t erase very well. I usually need to move things around a bit at first until I am happy with the proportions so that was quite tricky when I needed to move the eyes up a bit. ..

Here I’m finally happy with the proportions and I am beginning to work down the face, I’m using just one shade of pastel – a mid grey.  The other new thing is that this is a bigger size for me, its 50 x 40cm which is the next size up.

Working on blending and laying down the fur detail I am working down the face.  It’s great to see him come to life on the board and as I am going I am beginning to enjoy the pastelmat surface which holds the pastel well and therefore hold the colour well.

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I have purchased some gouache paint in order to add the brightest white highlights.   I must admit to being terrified of applying it.  When I pluck up the courage I’ll post up the results.  After much searching on the internet as well as conversations with other artists I managed to pluck up the courage to put on some pastel colour and to use the gouache.  The gouache feels like liquid chalk so it works well with the pastel.  I’m pretty chuffed with the results, it has added another dimension to my work.  It has also made me realise that pastels are beautiful to use, particularly the wonderful colours they have.  More to come…..

Here is the finished piece.  I have decided to call him Chief as he reminds me of an Indian chief.  He is now framed and ready to purchase.  Take a closer look at him on my website shop by clicking here or clicking on the finished image below…

original pastel drawing of a long haired greyhound grey with brown eyes by Cheshire pet artist

Chief


My current piece is a cricket commission which unfortunately I can’t share with you at this time.  After it’s been presented I’ll showcase it.

There have been no sales this week so far 😦 however I am working on commissions so there is still plenty of art being created.

That Pug Look – original pug pencil drawing & other notes from the studio

After promising to give myself the day off on Monday following my art fair I ended up working to complete a pencil pug drawing that I started at the fair.  It’s great to draw when you’re at an art fair, customers love to see you working and talk about techniques.

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Here’s a sneaky photo that I took at the fair, I loved it and hope to paint it one day..


So ‘That Pug Look’ was completed on Wednesday, he is only 6 x 6″ wide and framed in a 7×7″ frame.  If you’re interested in purchasing him or viewing my other artwork and commissions click here to follow the link to my website or click on the finished drawing of That Pug Look.

 

framed pencil graphite drawing of a pug dog by cheshire based pet artist

That Pug Look


Before I get on with my next commission I am carrying on with trialling oil painting.  This time I have chosen a composition that I feel I can work with better.  Being a shorter haired dog , a dalmatian means I can focus on the tones rather than the fine fur detail.  The photo is by kind permission of someone from Dalmatians UK facebook page.

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The pose is perfect and the light is being cast from above to the right.  The only tricky thing is the constant whites.

Faith & the Goose – original charcoal drawing

In my studio this week I have been working on my competition drawing of Faith and the Goose.  I am entering it into the Society of Graphic Fine Art’s Draw 16 competition.  I don’t expect it to win but it would be lovely if it got accepted and hung in their exhibition in October.  This is part way through the drawing as I have begun work on the goose, blending and shaping the charcoal.  I want the goose to look friendly because that will soften the look of fear on the girl’s face making the drawing quite sweet.  I want the drawing to make people smile, not for them to be afraid for Faith.

charcoal progress drawing of a young girl standing on a bench in a park with a goose walking over to her she looks scared

Progress drawing

I am also preparing my studio for show,  I would like people to feel they can come and visit, take a look at the original drawings and prints, chat about commissions and see me work.  So I’ve been busy framing and putting pieces on the walls, preparing prices and ensuring that its the comfy cosy place to visit and stay a while that I think it is.  If you would like to visit drop me a quick text, email or facebook message and I will let you know when  I am in.

art studio gallery of alsager cricket and pet artist

Taking the day off on Saturday we went for an art trip to Kirkstall, Leeds.  This was a fact finding mission to take a nose around their art trail.  I have entered my studio into the Cheshire Open Studio event in September and wanted some ideas.  It’s surprising to think there are so many artists who live so close to each other.  But, I reckon the same could be said of quite a lot of areas.  There are quite a few in Alsager that I know of.  It was so lovely to visit other artists in their studios and although I was worried about getting studio envy I was ok.  The only envy was possibly for the wonderful summer house at the end of one beautiful garden.

The tips that I picked up was to have a bowl of sweets or nibbles, to have a write up on display about me and my art, have a visitor book for people to sign, add their contact details and comments.  The things not to do was to have lots of friends in the studio.  It’s a tricky balance because in some places it felt fine and we were left to browse but in other places we felt intrusive and uncomfortable.

The great line I’ve picked up this week in my reading is The artist sees only that in the model which may help him to build up the look he would record (Robert Henri)  To me this means that when I’m looking at the model or the subject of the drawing I need to consider what it is I am trying to portray.  For the Faith & the Goose drawing it was the expression on Faith’s face, therefore everything needed to relate to that.  I had to draw the goose to show what she was afraid of, to draw the bench to show her position in relation to the goose and to show she was at a park.  Hmmmmm

charcoal original drawing of a little girl standing on a bench looking at a goose with a frightened expression on her face

Faith and the Goose

This is the finished piece of Faith and the Goose which has now been emailed off to SGFA.  Fingers crossed and we will see how it gets on.

Finally for this week I am going to explore drawing portraits from life – a true ambition of mine.  I would like people to come to my studio and sit for me to have their portrait drawn.  Initially it would need to be as practise because my drawing skills are not up to scratch on portraits or from life.  Plus I’m not sure what materials I would prefer to use – charcoal, graphite or pastels so lots of experimenting needed.  If you feel that you have an hour to spare and would like to sit for me then please get in touch, I can’t pay you but I give you a cuppa and lots of chat.

Faith & the Goose – progress drawing

This is a progress drawing as I am part way through it.  The drawing will be entered into my very first competition.  I am entering into the Graphic Fine Art competition.  I have no real hopes of it winning but I would love for it to be selected.  Selection means it will go on display in an exhibition in London – a real dream.  I  have picked for my subject my friend’s daughter who had a scary but quite funny reaction when a goose tried to say hello.

I loved the photo when I first saw it and asked if I could use it as a subject.  It should be completed this week.  I am working it in charcoal because that’s the best way to achieve the extremes of light and dark within the drawing.  The obvious focus is Faith so everything is drawn from her.

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